DENVER — On 4/20, many Coloradans are celebrating the cannabis plant, but researchers at Colorado State University are sending out a warning about how cannabis production can affect the environment.
They found that producing cannabis indoors is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in our region. That's largely because Colorado's climate requires so much energy to keep the plants at proper temperatures.
But being eco-friendly isn't only about how weed is grown.
Packaging, recycling and buying from local vendors can all help reduce a dispensary's carbon footprint.
Glendale's Life Flower dispensary acknowledges that being eco-friendly can be a challenge, but that's still the business' goal.
"We’re Colorado natives. This plant and this state has given us our livelihoods," said Brad Liestikow of Life Flower Dispensary.
The dispensary says it uses biodegradable hemp plastic containers whenever possible, and lets customers know how to recycle them properly.
They've also outfitted the shop with beetle kill pine.
"We are able to repurpose (the pine) and it kind of sequesters the carbon and decay from the forest and brings it here," says Laiah Walsh of Life Flower Dispensary
They're also picky about where products come from, choosing to source locally from growers that use greenhouses when possible.
Jason Quinn, Director of the Sustainability Research Laboratory at Colorado State says consumers should ask dispensaries where they're getting their weed from, how it's grown, and if packaging can be recycled.
He also suggests reaching out to lawmakers.
"Let policymakers start to implement policies associated with energy requirements, or renewable energy requirements to kind of start minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with this specific industry," Quinn says.
Quinn says making eco-friendly choices falls on dispensaries and consumers.
"This industry is all focused around a plant, and it’s really important that we keep that plant sacred and the environment it’s in sacred," says Walsh.